1.1 This publication presents national-level information on justice social work activity in Scotland. It includes data on justice social work services and social work orders, as well as characteristics of the individuals involved.
1.2 The nationwide lockdowns and other public health measures put in place during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have had a big impact on social work activity since March 2020. Caution is advised in comparing activity in years 2020-21 and 2021-22 with previous years.
1.3 The number of social work orders issued in 2021-22 was 12,600, up 48 per cent on 2020-21 but still much lower than any of the previous eight years (Chart 1).
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and associated public health measures, have had an impact on many areas of justice social work during years 2020-21 and 2021-22. This resulted in lower volumes of cases going through courts, especially during 2020-21. Justice social work was affected by the national lockdowns and other measures to keep people safe. Some caution is advised in interpreting the figures in this bulletin for 2020-21 and 2021-22, particularly how they compare with earlier years.
- The number of diversion from prosecution cases commenced rose by 20 per cent between 2020-21 and 2021-22 to 2,700, the highest level in the last decade.
- The number of bail supervision cases commenced in 2021-22 was 570, the highest in the last decade. This was an increase of 20 per cent on the second highest level of 470 in 2019-20.
- The number of criminal justice social work reports (including supplementary reports) rose by 36 per cent between 2020-21 and 2021-22 to 23,000. This was still lower than in the previous three pre-pandemic years which averaged around 28,200.
- There were 12,150 community payback orders (CPOs) commenced in 2021-22. This was 49 per cent higher than in 2020-21 but was the second lowest in the last decade. From 2012-13 to 2019-20, the number of orders commenced ranged from 16,100 to 19,500.
- In 2021-22, as in 2020-21, more CPOs were issued with supervision (71 per cent) than unpaid work requirements (63 per cent) (Chart 4). This may still have been influenced by COVID-related restrictions affecting the delivery of unpaid work as, prior to the pandemic, unpaid work had always been the most commonly issued requirement.
- The average length of CPO supervision requirements increased in the last two years. From 2017-18 to 2019-20 it was under 16 months. It increased to 16.7 months in 2020-21 and then to 16.9 months in 2021-22.
- The number of CPOs in existence increased by nine per cent during 2021-22, from 13,800 at 31 March 2021 to 15,000 at 31 March 2022. This was the third lowest figure in ten years. From 2012-13 to 2019-20, there was an average of 16,200 orders.
- The number of drug treatment and testing orders commenced rose by 58 per cent between 2020-21 and 2021-22 to 360. This was lower than in any of the previous eight years when numbers averaged 560.
- There were 930 structured deferred sentences imposed in Scotland in 2021-22 This was the highest number in the last four years.
- There were 1,700 statutory custody and community based throughcare cases commenced in 2021-22. This was higher than in 2020-21 but still the second lowest in the last ten years.
- The number of home detention curfew assessment reports completed fell to 790 in 2021-22, the lowest level in the last ten years.
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